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NELC 3702: Literatures and Cultures of the Islamic World

Autumn 2014
Enarson Classroom Building 0222
Tuesdays and Thursdays
3:55 5:15pm
Ryan Schaffner
378 Hagerty Hall
Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 5:30-6:30pm
Course Description and Objectives:
This course is a selective survey of Islamic literature through which we will gain a better understanding of
Islamic cultures throughout history. By analyzing select works, students will gain insight into how the
cultures that produced them have differed from era to era and place to place: while codified principles have
a degree of universal validity among Muslims, Islam has been practiced differently in diverse regions at
different times. By the end, students will see how Islam has conceptually overshadowed an impressive
variety of religious, cultural, and social profiles. Besides the literary pieces, secondary readings and
interpretations, as well as academic films, will provide the students with important background information
about the investigated topics. All texts will be provided in translation. Relevant Arabic terminology will be
introduced and explained throughout the course. There may be changes to the syllabus and schedule if
Goals: Students evaluate significant texts in order to develop capacities for aesthetic and historical
response and judgment; interpretation and evaluation; and critical listening, reading, seeing, thinking, and
Expected Learning Outcomes:
1. Students analyze, interpret, and critique significant literary works.
2. Through reading, discussing, and writing about literature, students appraise and evaluate the
personal and social values of their own and other cultures.
Goals: Students understand the pluralistic nature of institutions, society, and culture in the United States
and across the world in order to become educated, productive, and principled citizens.
Expected Learning Outcomes:
1. Students understand some of the political, economic, cultural, physical, social, and
philosophical aspects of one or more of the worlds nations, peoples and cultures outside the
2. Students recognize the role of national and international diversity in shaping their own
attitudes and values as global citizens.
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Course Requirements:
1. Courtesy:
We will be reading and discussing some sensitive and provocative issues in this course. Your participation is
expected and valued. We must all be willing to discuss what we think/feel and do so comfortably. Therefore,
you are expected to show respect and consideration for all participants; any mean spirited discussion or
personal attacks will not be tolerated.
2. Attendance:
I expect you to attend and participate in every class. I will not take attendance, but there will be quizzes at
the beginning of every class based on the readings. These are worth a total of 20% of your grade, but I will
drop each students three lowest quiz scores. If you are hospitalized or have an emergency and have to miss
class please contact me as soon as possible, so that we can discuss any scheduled assignments. You are
responsible for keeping up with the reading and assignments due even if you miss class.
3. Readings:
You will be expected to read all of the assigned material and be prepared to comment/discuss/ask questions
on the date it appears in the syllabus. There will generally be about 100 pages of reading per week. I do not
expect you to know the material exhaustively, but I do expect you to have read it critically. You should be
able to provide a brief synopsis of the readings for each class and actively participate in the discussion. We
will generally follow the readings outlined in the syllabus, but there may be times when we diverge from the
schedule and change the readings. I will let you know if/when this occurs.
4. Exams:
There will be a midterm and final exam on the dates listed in the syllabus. The midterm will be in class, but
the final will be done at home and turned in by the date listed in the syllabus. Questions will be drawn from
the readings as well as class lectures and discussions. Each exam is worth 20% of your total grade.
5. Presentation:
You will be required to give a short presentation on your paper topic worth 20% of your total grade. The
length of the presentation will be dependent on the number of students in the course, but expect it to be
around 6-7 minutes. More information will be provided later in the semester.
6. Final Paper:
There is one paper for this course worth 20% of your grade. The scope of the paper is not limited to the
material or matters covered in the class although there must be a clear thesis and you should be able to
support that thesis with textual proofs and argumentation throughout the rest of the paper. The paper
should be at least 6 pages but no more than 10 pages (12 point, Times New Roman, double spaced, 1
margins, plus a bibliography and cover page). You are required to cite the sources you use in your paper
and you must use at least one primary source and multiple academic sources. The final paper will be due on
December 12 th by 11:59pm. You will need to submit your paper on Carmen to the Final Paper dropbox.
The rubric will be posted on Carmen. A late submission will be docked a letter grade for each day it is late.
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Daily Quizzes:
Midterm Exam
Final Paper
Final Exam
A (93-100)
C (73-76)


A- (90-92)
C- (70-72)

B+ (87-89)
D+ (67-69)

B (83-86)
D (63-66)

B- (80-82)
D- (60-62)

C+ (77-79)
E (0-59)

I will occasionally contact you via email in regard to class assignments, readings, questions to consider
while reading, and other matters. Feel free to contact me whenever needed at my email address
(schaffner.ryan@gmail.com) and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
Academic Misconduct:
It is the responsibility of the Committee on Academic Misconduct to investigate or establish procedures for
the investigation of all reported cases of student academic misconduct. The term academic misconduct
includes all forms of student academic misconduct wherever committed; illustrated by, but not limited to,
cases of plagiarism and dishonest practices in connection with examinations. Instructors shall report all
instances of alleged academic misconduct to the committee (Faculty Rule 3335-5- 487). For additional
information, see the Code of Student Conduct. http://studentlife.osu.edu/csc/
Disability Services:
Students with disabilities that have been certified by the Office for Disability Services will be appropriately
accommodated, and should inform the instructor as soon as possible of their needs. The Office for Disability
Services is located in 150 Pomerene Hall, 1760 Neil Avenue; telephone 292-3307, TDD 292-0901;

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Course Schedule (subject to change)

September 2: Syllabus and Introductions
September 4: Reading Literature (in translation)
Reading due: Steemers, Reading and Teaching Literature in Translation, p. 160-166; Lewis, An
Experiment in Criticism, 130-141.
September 9: Pre-Islamic Poetry
Reading Due: Barnstone, Literatures of the Middle East, Muallaqat, 232-237; Lecomte, G. "alMuallat." Encyclopaedia of Islam; Anthology of Islamic Literature, pp. 52-62
September 11: Qurn
Reading Due: Qurn: Suras 1, 12, 19, 21, 35, 74, 81, 82, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 96, 97, 100, 101, 103, 105, 106, 108,
109, 111, 112, 113, 114. Suras can be accessed in multiple translations and audio at tanzil.net.
September 16: Qurn
Reading Due: Qurn: Suras 2, 3, 4, 5, 22, 47, 58, 59, 62, 65, 110. Suras can be accessed in multiple
translations and audio at tanzil.net.
September 18: Biography
Due: Selections from Ibn Isqs The Life of Muammad, 3, 68-73, 79-87, 103-107, 111, 130-131,
September 23: Classical Poetry
Reading Due: Abu Nuwas: A Genius of Poetry, 1-78.
September 25: Classical Poetry
Reading Due: Selections from Abu Nuwas: A Genius of Poetry, 79-134.
September 30: 1001 Nights
Reading Due: 1001 Nights, 3-48.
October 2: 1001 Nights
Reading Due: Selections from 1001 Nights, 48-121.
October 7: Mirrors for Princes
Reading Due: Nizam al-Mulk, Book of Government, Or, Rules for Kings, 9-42.
October 9: Mirrors for Princes
Reading Due: Selections from al-Farabi: The Political Writings, Selected Aphorisms.

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October 14: Travel Writers

Reading Due: Ibn Fadln and the Land of Darkness, 3-58.
October 16: Travel Writers
Reading Due: Selections from al-Birunis India.
October 21: Travel Writers
Reading Due: Selections from Ibn Baa.
October 23: Midterm Review
October 28: Midterm!
October 30: Sufism
Reading Due: Selections from Islamic Mystical Poetry: Sufi Verse from the Mystics to Rumi.
November 4: Ibn Khaldun
Reading Due: M. Talbi. "Ibn K h aldn." Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition; Selections from Ibn
Khaldun. Al-Muqqadimah
November 6: Ibn Khaldun
Reading Due: Selections from Ibn Khaldun. Al-Muqqadimah.
November 11: Veterans Day, No Class!
November 13: Novel
Reading Due: TBD
November 18: Minority Literature
Reading Due: TBD
November 20: Minority Literature
Reading Due: TBD
November 25: Novel
Reading Due: TBD
November 27: Thanksgiving-- No Class!
December 2: Student Presentations
December 4: Student Presentations
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December 9: Student Presentations and Class Wrap-up

December 12: Final Paper due by 11:59pm!
December 17: Final exam due by 9:45pm!

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